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Goa opens grocery shops; CM says govt is not responsible if the virus spreads

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 28, 2020

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (File photo)   -  The Hindu

As the grocery shops in Goa opened its shutters on Friday to supply essential commodities to the public, Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant had said on Thursday that his government should not be blamed if the coronavirus spread in the State, as per media reports.

The disgruntled CM had made the comments when people in Goa asked him to budge from his “100 per cent lockdown” and open grocery stores. The CM had to give in to the public pressure due to a plethora of complaints from all quarters.

Sawant had declared that the grocery stores would be open from Friday onwards, even 24/7 if the owners could do it.

Goa has been witnessing lockdown five days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked for a complete lockdown in the country, excluding the uninterrupted supply of essential items.

Addressing media, CM Sawant said: “We cannot say when and how the coronavirus can be transmitted. Therefore we should take care of ourselves. If tomorrow, the coronavirus spreads in a big way in Goa, then you cannot blame the government.”

CM said the government wanted a 100 per cent lockdown to avoid unnecessary contact due to coronavirus. He added that he was forced to take a decision “due to complaints from many quarters.”

He urged the people of his state to follow the protocols and maintain distance to prevent the spread of the virus. He had to pass the directive when the government was unable to supply essentials including bread, milk, and food grains after some glitches in the supply chain.

The Opposition had also criticized the Chief Minister for its government’s shortcomings. Sawant had imposed the 100 per cent lockdown saying that as a medical practitioner himself, he knew the gravity of the novel coronavirus disease. He had mentioned: “As a doctor, I read about the coronavirus and Covid-19 and how it can spread. After learning about all this, I had felt that there should be a 100 per cent lockdown.”

Earlier Sawant had been reluctant to postpone the Zilla Panchayat which was scheduled for March 22. However, it was postponed after a petition was filed before the Goa bench of the Bombay Court seeking the postponement of elections due to coronavirus.

Known for its tourism, Goa has recorded three cases of coronavirus so far, while the tally in India is nearing 800.

Published on March 28, 2020

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